Today, a company that adopts a data-driven approach is a sure winner. It is crucial to have a data-driven structure in place to ensure intelligent decision-making that supports the achievement of defined business objectives. However, data is often scattered across multiple sources and formats, making it difficult to analyse and use effectively. This is where the ETL process comes into play.
Want to know more? Read on…
What are ETL processes?
The ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) process is a methodology used to integrate, cleanse and prepare data from multiple sources to make it accessible and usable for further analysis. The ETL process ensures that the data is consistent, reliable and in the right format for further processing.
In previous articles we have described the ETL process and its relevance to business implementation. This time, we will focus on the predefined processes and look at some tools that will help in the procedure.
What are ETL tools?
ETL tools are software that automate the ETL process. These tools are extremely useful, as handling large volumes of data can be complicated and time-consuming.
They allow companies to extract data from different sources, cleanse it and load it into a new destination efficiently and relatively easily. In addition, these tools often include features that help handle errors and ensure that data is accurate and consistent.
Predefined ETL process
Developing the phases in a customised way brings advantages such as reducing lead times, isolating the changes of one phase from the rest or reusing the work done in one ETL process for other processes. However, if the ETL processes are not very complex, they can be developed with the help of predefined interfaces.
Do you know what the tools provide at each step of the ETL process? In the following, we will describe which functionalities the tools develop in the different phases.
During this phase, the “raw material” that will be used in the next phases is obtained. Data is extracted from different internal or external sources, such as databases, CSV files, web services, among others.
ETL tools allow you to connect and extract data from a wide variety of sources, providing an intuitive interface to select and collect the necessary data. It is important to be careful during this first phase to avoid altering the data at its source.
This is often the most complex phase of the ETL process. Once data has been extracted, it must be transformed into a format that can be used effectively in the target system. This data can be categorised as either structured or unstructured data and all must be transformed to obtain information from it.
ETL tools provide a variety of transformation functions that allow users to define data transformation rules and processes without the need for custom coding. This can include de-duplication, date format conversion, field merging, etc.
This is the final phase of the process, where the transformed data is loaded into the target system so that all areas of the organisation can be fed with information.
ETL tools facilitate this process by providing pre-configured connections to a variety of target systems and by allowing users to define how and when data should be loaded.
4 tools in the ETL process
A reliable source for keeping up to date on which tools are at the top of the industry is Gartner. It compiles an overview of the leading vendors in the market through its Magic Quadrant. These include:
PowerCenter – informática
It is one of the most widely used ETL tools. It offers an intuitive graphical interface and allows the processing of large volumes of data.
The ability of this tool is to manage the increasing complexity and volume of data in enterprises, which face the challenge of extracting value from multiple data sources to make business decisions.
PowerCenter facilitates this process by providing a single platform that transforms raw, fragmented data into complete, high-quality, business-ready information.
Oracle Data Integrator (ODI) – Oracle
It is a complete data integration tool that supports the entire ETL process.
This tool is notable for its E-LT (Extract-Load-Transform) architecture model which, unlike the traditional ETL model, first loads data into an intermediate relational database before performing the necessary transformations. This can provide better performance in certain scenarios.
In addition, it can handle a wide variety of data sources and targets, making it very flexible. Some of the key features of ODI include the ability to design and manage data flows, transform data, make data changes, schedule and orchestrate processes, and monitor and audit results.
Talend Data Fabric – Talend
Talend is a complete data integration platform that maximises the power and value of data. It integrates, cleanses, governs and delivers the right data to the right users. It offers a modular solution that spans the entire data lifecycle and supports a variety of deployment architectures.
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) – Microsoft
Microsoft’s platform for building enterprise data integration solutions, which plays a crucial role in the ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) process. It enables the extraction of data from various sources, the transformation of this data through various operations to cleanse, modify and structure, and finally the loading of this transformed data into one or more destinations. Additionally, SSIS provides advanced functionalities to control workflow, handle errors and log processes for tracking and auditing.
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